Account-based marketing (ABM) is resurging. SiriusDecisions reported that 92% of marketers believe that ABM is extremely important. While adoption is skyrocketing, a successful ABM deployment relies not only on selecting the right technology stack, but also having the right content.
Conceptually, ABM has been around for years. It’s become the strategy du jour because technological advances enabled dedicated ABM platforms to offer companies a way to bridge the gap between sales and marketing.
But similar to CRM and marketing automation platforms, technology is just that—an enabler. For ABM to be successful, you need the right content for each individual within an account. In other words, you need content marketing.
ABM and Content Marketing: More than the Sum of Their Parts
The benefit of effective content marketing is clear: Generate revenue through understanding and engaging target audiences. Yet even companies that claim to do content marketing often define their audiences too broadly and take a one-to-many approach to content creation and distribution.
Enter ABM platforms. Now marketing and sales can identify high-value accounts, discover contacts, gather insights, deploy targeted communications, optimize efforts, and thus increase budget efficiencies and results.
For marketers, this is nirvana: A hyper-targeted list of people within a specific company, and access to critical insights. That should make it easy to improve content marketing results, right?
Not so fast. While SiriusDecisions highlighted marketers’ enthusiasm for ABM, they also reported that only 20% have fully implemented programs, and 47% of companies feel their ABM teams don’t have the skills required for success.
ABM platforms offer the promise of deep insights into each targeted account, which is gold for understanding what content should be developed and will resonate with each person across their buying journey. But marketers must understand that the people within these corporations work together to make a buying decision, and that’s where content plays a significant role in ABM.
Why Content Matters Most
Developing content for each individual within the buying committee has to ladder up to a single “undeniable argument” as to why you’re the partner to do business with. Each influencer, stakeholder, and decision maker has their own concerns, priorities, and objectives.
However, each individual is not an island. Decisions must be based on the company’s strategy and goals. A CFO will have different priorities and concerns compared to a LOB manager, but their collective efforts must meet the needs of the overarching business.
This is where ABM provides powerful advantages for truly targeted and relevant content development. While ABM tools can provide key insights into who you should target and when, fundamental content marketing best practices must still prevail. Simply taking a “mass market” approach to content creation and distribution to support an ABM strategy will typically not yield improved program results and maximize your ABM investment.
Bottom line: Creating content that isn’t aligned with the target’s careabouts and the company’s overarching vision, mission, and objectives is a recipe for ABM program failure.
Understand the People Behind the Accounts
To ensure ABM success, you need an account-based content strategy that’s predicated on a deep understanding of your accounts and the individuals within them:
- Talk to salespeople to clarify common objectives and communication goals
- Speak to customers to understand their needs and pain points
- Dive deep into the companies you’re targeting to gather insights
All of this will help differentiate your content from the content of competitors who are also trying to get on their radar.
Above all else, map your content creation plan and distribution strategy to their buying journey. While ABM gives you the “hit list” of high-value accounts, a one-size-fits-all to content creation and a shotgun approach to distribution will fall on deaf ears. You’ll be in the dreaded sea of content parity and your ABM investment will not achieve its full value and promise.
The Right Content: Prerequisites for ABM Success
Just like a great recipe, you need to understand the ingredients that are critical to developing a successful ABM strategy. One of—if not the most important one—is content that truly engages your audience at the right time with the right message.
Whether you’re just wading into the waters of ABM, or have solutions fully implemented, content needs to be at the forefront of your strategy.
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